G3 Charles Town Oaks: Preview, odds, and analysis

by | Sep 15, 2016 | Breaking, Handicapping, Racing, Top Stories, West Virginia, WV Racing

Sophia’s Song, favored in the G3 Charles Town Oaks. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

From a Charles Town release

With a win in Charles Town’s first graded stakes of 2016 in their back pockets as a result of Stanford’s score in April’s $1,250,000 Charles Town Classic (G2), the trainer-jockey combination of Todd Pletcher and Javier Castellano will seek to add a win in the track’s second and final graded stakes of the year as they team up with Sophia’s Song, the even money morning line favorite in this Saturday’s $350,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3).

The Charles Town Oaks is one of eight stakes on Charles Town’s eighth annual Race for the Ribbon card, which gets underway at 5:00 P.M. EST.


[su_box title=”G3 CHARLES TOWN OAKS ENTRIES” style=”glass”]For three-year-old fillies, 7 furlongs, $350,000 purse

  1. Giddy Up (5-1) — Carol Cedeno/Anthony Pecoraro — Versatile sort owns owns wins on turf and dirt; runner-up last out to Appealing Maggie in the Miss Woodford; that runner was 10th next out in the G2 Prioress; emptied out in only tries beyond six furlongs but last out change in tactics may help here.
  2. Decoratedwithstyle (12-1) — Trevor McCarthy/Flint Stites — Tired in only tries beyond six furlongs and two stakes tries to date don’t suggest she’s this type
  3. Mia Torri (10-1) — J. D. Acosta/Michael Reavis — Many questions, few answers for runner whose only tries to date have been on synthetic; sire’s best results came on turf and synthetic, though he did win G3 on main track; good sign: major vote of confidence to ship in for this, suggesting trainer likes the hand he’s playing
  4. Quick Release (5-1) — Alex Cintron/Michael Dini — Finished behind #1 in here three back and winless in four stakes tries; best effort came when third in G3 Miss Preakness; first try beyond six furlongs on main track; needs to find best effort here
  5. Covey Trace (7-2) — Arnaldo Bocachica/William Denzik, Jr. — Talented sort looks to make the jump into graded company; versatile running style has allowed her to win from on and off the pace; won nicely last out going 6 1/2 furlongs, suggesting added half-furlong shouldn’t be an issue; picks up high percentage local pilot
  6. Sophia’s Song (1-1) — Javier Castellano/Todd Pletcher — The field’s only stakes winner made a credible return from five-month break last out when second to multiple G3 winner Irish Jasper in a Spa allowance; national leader Javier Castellano slated to ride, which perhaps tells you what he thinks about this filly; clearly the one to beat here

After making the first two starts of her career north of the border at Woodbine, Sophia’s Song made her final start as a two-year-old a spectacular one, dominating an allowance field at Gulfstream Park by 6 1/4 lengths. Following her eye catching performance at Gulfstream, Sophia’s Song was sold privately to the partnership of Mathis Stable LLC and Head of Plains Partners LLC and subsequently transferred from trainer Sid Attard into Pletcher’s barn.

The chestnut filly quickly rewarded her new connections with another dominating win, this time in the $75,000 Caesar’s Wish Stakes at Laurel Park. After five months away from the races, the Bellamy Road filly tackled an optional claiming allowance field at Saratoga and checked in second behind the multiple graded stakes winning older filly Irish Jasper in her comeback.

“We were very pleased with her last race and feel like she will like the Charles Town oval,” said Pletcher who saddled Temper Mint Patty to a runner-up finish in last year’s renewal.

If speed figures are any indication, Pletcher has reason to be pleased as the 95 Beyer speed figure earned by Sophia’s Song at Saratoga was equal to the one produced by Lucy N Ethel in winning the Prioress (G2) and 5 points stronger than the number Paola Queen received for winning The Test (G1).

Sophia’s Song will also have the services of Castellano who, to put it mildly, has had some success at Charles Town over the past five years. All told, the multiple Eclipse Award winning jockey has seen his 8 mounts produce 4 wins and $1,671,970 in earnings and, earlier this year, he became the first rider to win multiple Charles Town Classics having also captured it with Caixa Eletronica in 2012. On Saturday, he aims to become the first rider to win multiple Charles Town Oaks, having piloted Book Review to the winner’s circle in the 2012 edition of the race.

Starting right to the inside of Sophia’s Song is the horse who owns the second best last out Beyer as the William Denzik trained Covey Trace makes her graded stakes debut after a 5 1/4 length win in an optional claiming allowance at Ellis Park, where she earned an 85 Beyer figure.

Despite two poor performances in stakes in her last five races, Denzik believes his filly is getting better at the right time.

“The last race she ran, (jockey) Brian Hernandez said she did it fairly easy and had something left in the tank,” he explained. “She’s been working good and working like she’s a filly on the improve. She had an excuse in the Ta Wee Stakes, but I do think that sprinting on the dirt is probably her strong suit.”

Covey Trace breaks from post 5 with Hernandez once again aboard and is the 7-to-2 second choice on the morning line.

Ballybrit Stable’s Quick Release ships in for trainer Michael Dini following a tough trip in an optional claiming allowance at Saratoga where she was fanned 9-wide at the top of the stretch and could do no better than fifth.

“She sort of got a rough trip in her last race at Saratoga,” Dini said of the Monmouth based filly’s experience up in New York. “She was taken back and fanned really wide but still only got beat six lengths. The time before that she got beat a nose by a nice filly, Lost Raven.”

That time before Dini references was the daughter of Trappe Shot’s very narrow defeat to Lost Raven in the Coronation Cup, also at Saratoga. Earlier this year, Quick Release became graded stakes placed after a third place finish – once again behind Lost Raven – in the Miss Preakness (G3) at Pimlico.

Quick Release has the services of jockey Alex Cintron and stands at 5-to-1 on the morning line.

The co-third choice at 5-to-1, along with Quick Release, is Roman Hill Farm’s Giddy Up who breaks from the rail for trainer Anthony Pecoraro.

Most recently second behind Appealing Maggie in the Miss Woodford at Monmouth Park, Giddy Up will be making her first start on dirt going farther than six furlongs, a fact which doesn’t concern her connections.

“I don’t think the seven furlongs will bother her at all,” said Pecoraro. “She’s training well. She’s a versatile filly. Depending on what the others do, she can either sit close or come from off of it.”

Mia Torri, second to the Godolphin owned Moiety in an Arlington Park allowance in her last outing and recent Penn National allowance winner Decoratedwithstyle complete the lineup.

The Charles Town Classic is the penultimate race in an all-stakes Pick 4 which commences in Race 9. Post time for the Charles Town Oaks is scheduled for 10:18 P.M. EST.